Saw some great guitar playing last night. Adrian Legge and David Lindley were at the Cedar Cultural Center on the West Bank, that part of the U of M Campus that’s on the west side of the Mississippi. The West Bank is more than just a campus, it’s a very funky nieghborhood with a rich history and the center of the counter culture action in the sixties and seventies. Then and now, full of bars with great music as well as ethnic restaruants, live theater and the home of that oxymoronic store for outdoors enthusiast, Midwest Mountaineering. It’s always been a little on the seedy side, with bonafide whore house saloons in the sixties and plenty of drug action forever. Lately the Cedar Towers, the high rise subsidised housing rising out of the middle of it, has become home to a large part of our Somali population, which makes the mix all the more interesting.
The Cedar Cultural Center is an old movie theater that’s been gutted to make it into a huge, high ceilinged room that can be configured for various cultural events. Last night there was a small stage and a room full of folding chairs. It was general admission and we got there early enough to get seats in the third row center. A nice intimate venue for some very cool music.
Adrian Legge is an English fellow about my age who plays finger style electric guitar with an amazing array of electonic effects. On many of the pieces it sounded as if he was being accompanied by the organ at Winchester Cathedral. His father was a choir master and although I think he’s a former rocker, most of his music is based on the harmonies of church music. His playing was all instrumental, and between songs he kept up a nice patter about the history of his family and the inspiration for his music. And what a player.
David Lindley is one of the most unique musicians out there. How many guys do you know that do a John Lee Hooker style blues piece on the subject of “man boobs” on an electic oud. He also did a songs titled “He’d Love You More Than Eva Braun,” “The Jimmy Hoffa Memorial Building Blues,” and one about a junk bond king caught up in a bingo addiction on a Seminole reservation in Florida. Lindley, who you might know as the pedal steel player in Jackson Browne’s early band, does amazing vocal stylizations and is one of the greatest slide guitar players around. And he’s as funny as he is funny looking.
So even though I HATE to go out on Sunday nights and I overslept for work this morning….I had a great time!